Spain: Annoyingly Beautiful Soccer and Mouth-Watering Paella (World Cup 2014)
World Ranking: 1
They've won the last three tournaments you hipster soccer 'fans' have watched, so chances are you think they're pretty good. And, um, they are.
The Spanish are cheddar cheese. No holes.
But when you've won two straight Euros and the last World Cup, and when your subs and the guys you left at home are as talented as any of your opponents' stars, anything less than another trophy would be uncivilized.
That means the Spanish are destined for disappointment, the way Tiger Woods used to be when he'd finish second or worse in Majors... you know, back when we thought he'd win it each and every week.
Has Anthony Bourdain Been Here?
The Crystal Ball:
First in Group B, in a very tough Group B. They'll draw either Mexico or Croatia after that, and then either Italy, England, or Colombia after that. Their semifinal tickets are basically booked... but I see an upset in Round 1 if Mexico can keep their sh*t together.
A (Real) Question:
In 2010, the Spanish sludged through the ugliest Final of all-time against the Dutch, and it was two high-profile subs – Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas – who came in in extra time to set-up Andres Iniesta for the World Cup-winning goal. In the Euros in 2012, Torres scored three goals in just 189 minutes on the pitch. He's far from their best player, and miles from their most consistent.
That sort of depth is Spain's biggest advantage... but it's also a looming concern.
I mean, who do you leave off the field, and what if you don't make the one right choice the one time you need to?
- vs Netherlands: Friday, June 13 (12:00 p.m. PST))
- vs Chile: Wednesday, June 18 (12:00 p.m. PST)
- vs Australia: Monday, June 23 (9:00 a.m. PST)
A Video For Your Time: